Review Summary: Personal experience solidifies a legitimate record.
Anyone coming out of college right now knows the tough reality within the job market. On top of the ridiculously priced piece of paper that took four or more years to earn, there’s even a requirement of experience for opening positions. And with the inclusion of the unemployed people present in the job market moving backwards to take these beginning positions from the emerging workforce, stepping out into the world post-university can be an enormous frustration. This must be what it felt like to everyone else within the underground metal scene when Converge released Jane Doe
. The band, which had earned their place in the decade of their existence prior to the release of the album, completely dismantled their competition and set the standard for a purely emotional experience.
The concept is fairly average and vastly explored: the emotional fallout from a relationship. However, the way it is approached brings fresh ideas and viewpoints to light. An album that’s as heavy as the emotional burden carried by the writer, the primary objective is to assault the listener with the same fury and violence brought onto the lyricist. This is where the band clearly succeeds. The music, influenced by styles of metal ranging from thrash to grind, throws everything into the pot to create an event and not an album. The guitar passages are technical and dissonant, and the drumming varied and intense, with the bass slowly hacking away at the perpetrator as the theme progresses. It doesn’t matter what genre you consider this to be; the focus on such an idea would be to entirely miss the point.
There’s a particular issue which usually confronts listeners on the first examination of the album, and there’s no question it’s the most difficult to digest. The decision to use a harsh and extremely uncomfortable vocal delivery style can turn many away for a period of time. There are one million hyperboles that could be placed here to describe them, but it remains that the emotional and often indistinguishable vocals perfectly fit the music and feeling of abandonment. The strong usage of dark themes and lyrics putting the damage created into words can be too much to handle, but can also be relatable to anyone who has gone through turbulent times with somebody in their life. And besides, the emotional experience will always trump the music.